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Published On: Mon, Jul 17th, 2017

PM Narendra Modi congratulated NDA Presidential Candidate Ram Nath Kovind in advance

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modi-voting-president-poll-pib_650x400_81500269521NEW DELHI : The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has thrown its weight behind former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind. A conglomerate of 14 Opposition parties have joined hands to declared former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as their presidential candidate. The Election Commission has permitted 14 Rajya Sabha and 41 Lok Sabha members to vote in the Assemblies for the presidential election, while five MLAs will vote in Parliament on Monday.

Ram Nath Kovind is set for an easy win in today’s election for the next President of India versus Meira Kumar, with the ruling BJP-led N D A confident that the former Bihar Governor will get about 70 per cent of the vote. Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has been fielded by the opposition, which has pitched the contest as a battle of ideologies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was among the first to vote in Parliament this morning, has congratulated Mr Kovind in advance and has said that “the presidential poll this time is historic. Probably for the first time no party made any undignified or unwarranted comment on the rival candidate.”

A 17-member bloc of opposition parties had announced Meira Kumar’s candidacy days after the BJP named its nominee. PM Modi’s choice of a Dalit candidate was seen as a masterstroke to divide the opposition and keep allies together as well as a move to consolidate its growing support among politically vital backward castes.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United broke ranks with the opposition to support for Mr Kovind and the BJP’s partner Shiv Sena, which has in the last two Presidential elections voted against its own alliance, too has supported Mr Kovind.  Mr Kumar’s support to Mr Kovind came as a big blow to the opposition, which had picked the Presidential elections as an occasion to forge an anti-BJP bloc ahead of the 2019 general elections. His choice also revealed his growing rift with Lalu Yadav, his partner in Bihar, triggering speculation about a split.
According to political observers Sonia Gandhi and Meera Kumar’s appeal to MPs and MLAs to vote as per their conscience — and not vote as per their party’s official line — may eventually boomerang on them. Kumar has again and again urged legislators to caste their vote according to their conscience in a battle of ideologies. However, it is noteworthy, that in this election political parties, in any case can’t issue whip and the voting is secret. Mark Tejashwi Yadav’s words as he expressed his anguish over cross voting. Although he linked this with ruling NDA’s insecurity in the polls but it was not difficult to make an easy reading of voting pattern.
Ram Nath Kovind is sure to win Presidential election but what is of real interest is his victory margin over Opposition candidate Meira Kumar. The ruling NDA was slightly short of 50 percent of value of votes in the electoral college but now, with the support of several non-NDA parties, its candidate appears all set to get around 65 percent votes. BJP leaders believe that it could reach 70 percent mark or even more.
The BJP under Narendra Modi-Amit Shah dispensation has acquired a tendency to punch above its weight. In last year’s Rajya Sabha elections, the BJP fetched some extra seats than its strength in state Assemblies because it managed to get additional votes from other parties and Independents.

After recent round of assembly elections even as the BJP did not have required numbers to form its government in Goa and Manipur, it outmanoeuvred  Congress and formed government in these two states. Though the outcome of Presidential poll is forgone conclusion but BJP leadership is not taking it easy. It is keen to send out a message that Opposition is disunited and PM Modi’s candidate has support from across the party lines.
After voting today, ballot boxes from the states will be flown to Delhi and stored in Room 62 in Parliament. Votes will be counted and results will be announced on Thursday, July 20. The new President will take oath on Tuesday, July 25. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said, “After the election, who so ever wins, it is going to be a Dalit President. So it is great for the country.”

As he arrived in Parliament, PM Modi said the monsoon session that begins today will be “a good one,” and thanked all parties for their contribution in launching mega reform the Goods and Services Tax or GST. “Growing Stronger Together is the other name of GST, the PM said, hoping that the spirit of cooperation would continue to mark the session.

Leaders of opposition parties met this morning ahead of the presidential elections and the start of the monsoon session of Parliament in which they have decided to launch a united attack on the government on several key issues, including what they call an ill-prepared launch of GST.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has sought a “vote of conscience” in the presidential election. She acknowledged the numbers are stacked against the opposition, but added, “the battle must be fought and fought hard. We cannot and must not let India be hostage to those who wish to impose upon it a narrow-minded, divisive and communal vision.”
Ram Nath Kovind, 71, is backed not just by the NDA but also several regional parties like Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK. Ruling party sources say they expect enough cross voting in opposition ranks for their candidate to win about 70 per cent of the vote. (with Agency inputs).

 

 

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